International impact

We will develop and deepen our European and international alliances in research and business development to create innovative opportunities to deliver social and economic impact in Scotland and around the world.

The European Commission is the largest single funder of research, innovation and student exchange in the world. It offers opportunities for collaborations not only with other European partners but also with partners outside Europe. GCU aims to access EU funding and forge strategic partnerships with universities, businesses and other organisations within the UK and across the globe.  

European research

A new funding programme for research and innovation has been introduced by the European Commission with a budget of just over 70 billion euros. Horizon 2020 contains a number of focus areas which are linked to the Europe 2020 strategy.

The European Commission has also launched Erasmus +, a funding scheme which consolidates all the current EU and international programmes for education, vocational training, youth and sport, under one banner.   

Researchers at GCU are tackling poor water quality standards in Brazil, where there is considerable concern about the long-term impact of water pollution on ecosystems and human health. 

GCU will work with the Universidade Federal do ABC in São Paulo and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná in Curitiba to collaborate on a cross-disciplinary project which draws together environmental science, (waste) water engineering, eco-toxicological analysis, and stakeholder engagement expertise.

GCU researchers will lead one of Europe’s largest ever investigations into the diagnosis and treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis, a painful condition which affects around 500,000 people in Scotland, including one in five people over the age of 50.

The €4.2m (£3.6m) KNEEMO project will see the development of new methods to diagnose, treat, or even prevent the disease from developing among those who are particularly at risk.

KNEEMO, which will see GCU experts in musculoskeletal health work with colleagues in six other universities and three private companies, will look at how Knee Osteoarthritis is diagnosed, developing a range of new techniques which will allow doctors and other allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and podiatrists to spot patients who are showing signs of the illness and also those who are at risk of the disease developing.

GCU is also part of a major €2.5m European research project analysing the impact of the international economic crisis on groups which are most affected by socio-economic policy, such as immigrants, the unemployed or disabled.

Researchers in GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice are working with Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Communications on an international project to tackle gender inequalities in agriculture in South Asia. The team has also been awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund for a project to improve access to water among the poorest and most vulnerable groups in Malawi.

Transnet Freight Rail

GCU’s programmes run around the world, for example its collaboration with Transnet Freight Rail and the University of Johannesburg to deliver its BSc Railway Operations Management was showcased at the South Africa UK Bilateral Forum as an “excellent example of partnership” between the nations.

GCU and Transnet Freight Rail, South Africa’s largest freight rail company, have a five-year agreement for a significant capacity building programme in railway operations management.

The programme is the first of its kind that offers a formal qualification in railway operations management in South Africa. 

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, nearly 600 employees have registered and an estimated 5,000 are expected to graduate through the programme. The programme is delivered in partnership between GCU, the University of Johannesburg, the UK’s Institution of Railway Operators and Transnet’s School of Rail.

The graduates will hold qualifications from GCU, with the programme delivered locally in partnership with the University of Johannesburg. The programme originated in the UK through collaboration with the Institution of Railway Operators.

Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

The University’s influence and role in addressing 21st century issues through education, research and community initiatives is endorsed at home and at an international level.

GCU is Scotland’s first university Ashoka U Changemaker Campus in recognition of its leadership role in nurturing social innovation and enterprise skills. As one of only 30 Ashoka U Changemaker Campus institutions worldwide, GCU is a member of a network that includes Brown University, Cornell University and Johns Hopkins in the US.

Work is ongoing with the GCU Students’ Association and social entrepreneurs to offer placements within social ventures and to harness opportunities with Changemaker Campuses overseas.